Techno-Economic Evaluation of Bulk Ore Sorting for Copper Ore at the PanAust Phu Kham Operation
W Valery (1), K Duffy (1), P Holtham (2), A Reple (3), P Walker (4), P Rosario (1)
Presented at IMPC 2016: XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress, At Quebec City, Canada
The mining industry is facing declining feed grades which require the mining and processing of larger volumes of material per tonne of product. Pre-concentration aims to remove barren material at as coarse a particle size and as early in the process as possible to reduce processing costs, energy consumption, water losses and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing production and profitability. This may be achieved using bulk ore sorting – the separation of barren gangue from a fully loaded conveyor belt based on the grade as measured or inferred from a sensor. This paper evaluates the technical and economic viability of bulk ore sorting for the PanAust Phu Kham copper deposit in Lao PDR. Bulk ore sorting technology is described briefly along with discussion of appropriate sensor and diversion systems for the Phu Kham operation. To evaluate the economic implications, the actual mined material and costs from 2014 were used as the base-case. Sampling data was not available; therefore, the ore grade variability that would feed a bulk ore sorter was estimated using geo-statistical tools based on mine grade control data. The sorter performance when treating this material was simulated considering the accuracy of the sensor measurement and errors associated with material diversion. The impact on inferred cash flow was estimated for several different scenarios considering the additional costs for sorter operation and reject handling. The evaluation demonstrated that bulk ore sorting at Phu Kham has the potential to increase the amount of metal in product and/or reduce processing plant throughput (and costs) to improve the annual inferred cash flow for the conditions investigated. The sorter is the gatekeeper – only material above the cut-off grade (value-adding) reports to the processing plant; no waste dilutes the feed. Likewise, above cut-off grade material is not lost to waste; preventing lost revenue.
(1) – Hatch, 61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland Australia 4000
(2) – University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD Australia 4072
(3) – Kalium Consultoria em Mineração e Meio Ambiente Ltda, Rua Purpurina no 131 cj. 138, Sumarezinho, Brazil
(4) – PanAust Limited, Level 1, 15 James Street, Fortitude Valley QLD Australia 4006
Valery W, Duffy K, Holtham P, Reple A, Walker P and Rosario P. Techno-Economic Evaluation of Bulk Ore Sorting for Copper Ore at the PanAust Phu Kham Operation, in IMPC 2016: XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress Proceedings, September 11-15, Quebec City, Canada, 2016, Published by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).
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